Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 25% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY25". ×

Submission + - Microsoft and Nvidia abandon PC Gaming Alliance (

An anonymous reader writes: Ever since Microsoft turned its back on Windows gaming in favour of the closed Xbox Ecosystem, the platform has been crying out for a champion. The company occasionally gives nods towards a revived focus upon PC gaming, most recently with yet another relaunch for Games for Windows Live and a trio of upcoming PC games, but when it comes to throwing cash around the Xbox is the beneficiary. What can definitely be said is that the one group that should be championing the PC, the PC Gaming Alliance, is going backwards. In 2009 the group lost the biggest PC game developer/publisher Activision-Blizzard, and now it seems that both Microsoft and Nvidia have bid the alliance farewell. This sounds pretty unimpressive considering the operating system developer, both major graphics manufacturers and the publisher of the biggest PC game have departed the alliance.

Submission + - KVM Virtualization with Debian 6 (Squeeze) ( writes: "Whether you'd like to set up your own "personal cloud" for development purposes, or just want to learn more about server virtualization using open source software, this guide to KVM virtualization on Debian 6 gives you everything you need to get started (server not included). From installing Debian on your host server, to configuring KVM and installing your first guest VM, every step is covered. Enjoy!"

Submission + - Netbeans 7 without JUnit, legally speaking (

JR0cket writes: "Trying out the latest Netbeans 7 beta 2 release, you quickly see the gentle influence of the Oracle lawyers have had on the Netbeans development team. JUnit testing framework is no longer distributed with Netbeans 7 onwards.

All is not lost though as the first time you run Netbeans 7 you are immediately prompted as to whether you want to install the JUnit testing framework into Netbeans, via the Netbeans plugin for JUnit. As JUnit is pretty much standard for all Java development these days, it seems a strange thing to ask, but when legal concerns get in the way of common sense I guess these things happen. You can still install the Netbeans plug-in later on if you choose not to do it straight away, or if you are not connected to the Internet and therefore cannot connect to the Netbeans "app store" for plugins.

As has been previously reported by NetBeans Platform Architect Jaroslav Tulach, Oracle lawyers are concerned by the overly constrictive conditions of the Common Public Licence used by JUnit and have caused a hold-up on the Netbeans 7 release. This CPL license could be interpreted to mean that if Oracle ever sues a contributor to JUnit for patent infringement, then all patent licenses granted to Oracle by that contributor could be revoked. So the license certainly seems restrictive if you are in the litigation business.

According to Kent Beck, if the CPL license is a big enough problem to get lawyers involved, then its an important enough reason to buy a commercial licence. Unless Oracle wants to pay for a commercial license, pay to get JUnit re-licensed or forget about suing anyone contributing to JUnit, then I guess the Netbeans team will have to keep their work-around.

At least it seems that Netbeans 7 is back on track now and fingers crossed that Oracle decides it will not sue anyone who contributes to JUnit."


Submission + - Physicists improve spin information storage (

schliz writes: Researchers have made headway into developing spintronic RAM by successfully transferring spin information from an electron to a more robust atomic nucleus and accessing the information 2,000 times in 100 seconds before it decayed. The demonstration was conducted using phosphorus-doped sillicon in a highly magnetised, low-temperature environment (8.59 Tesla, -269.5 degrees Celsius). Other researchers have achieved spin lifetimes of 30 hours in a weaker magnetic field (0.3 Tesla).

Submission + - Doubling of CO2 not so tragic after all? ( 4

carvalhao writes: The Register reports on a study from NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that claims that new climate models that account for the effects of increased CO2 levels on plant growth result on a 1,64 C increase for a doubling of CO2 concentrations, a far less gloomy scenario than previously considered.

Submission + - Attachmate Retains Novell Unix Copyrights (

CWmike writes: Novell's copyrights for the Unix operating system will remain under Attachmate's control as part of the companies' pending merger, a Novell spokesman said on Wednesday. The confirmation, which came in a terse message posted to Novell's Web site, seems to rule out questions of whether Unix assets are part of some 882 patents being sold to a Microsoft-led consortium, CPTN Holdings, as part of the deal. As part of the $2.2 billion deal to be acquired by Attachmate, Novell initially stated that it would sell unspecified intellectual property to a Microsoft-led holdings company. This vague statement led many to wonder whether Microsoft somehow had acquired the Unix copyrights as part of the deal. So, was Microsoft snubbed under the deal? If Computerworld blogger Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols's speculation that Attachmate's deal to buy Novell was funded by Microsoft, could it not prove the Unix copyrights ownership point moot?

Submission + - The Kilogram Is No Longer Valid, Says U.S. ( 2

Velcroman1 writes: For 130 years, the kilogram has weighed precisely one kilogram. Hasn't it? The U.S. government isn't so sure. The precise weight of the kilogram is based on a platinum-iridium cylinder manufactured 130 years ago; it's kept in a vault in France at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. Forty of the units were manufactured at the time, to standardize the measure of weight. But due to material degradation and the effects of quantum physics, the weight of those blocks has changed over time. That's right, the kilogram no longer weighs 1 kilogram, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. And it's time to move to a different standard anyway. A proposed revision would remove the final connection to that physical bit of matter, said Ambler Thompson, a NIST scientist involved in the international effort. “We get rid of the last artifact."

Submission + - Goldman Sachs programmer trial sealed (

dave562 writes: Goldman Sachs' lawyers have asked the Federal judge to seal the court room during the trial of Sergey Aleynikov. Aleynikov was one of the programmers who developed Goldman's High Frequency Trading (HFT) programs. What does this say about the state of the financial indudstry? Given the problems HFT seems to have caused over the last few years, shouldn't more light be shone into the dark corners of how it works?

Submission + - Technology Progress Hurting Jobs 1

adeelarshad82 writes: A sour economy and outsourcing aren't the only reasons for job losses—technology is another factor. As technology rapidly evolves and makes various tasks and processes more efficient, economical to perform, and just downright easier, once-secure careers become victims of progress. The effects of this can be seen in postal, print and various other industries.
The Internet

Submission + - Officer challenging internet anonymity ( 1

Some1too writes: Ok here's the scoop: During the G20 summit not too long ago footage was capture of an officer threatening to arrest a protester for blowing bubbles in their directions. In his own words "“If the bubbles touch me you`re going to be arrested for assault, do you understand me?”. The video is uploaded to youtube and an animated parody is made showing 'officer bubbles' as he's now known arresting various characters (Santa Claus, Barack Obama). The usual youtube hilarity ensues in the comments. Officer Bubbles doesn't like what he reads so he decides to sue Youtube for 1.2 million and request that they reveal the identity of the anonymous authors. I wrote a opinion piece on the subject here. The blogosphere is really burning up with this one, I'm assuming that Officer Bubbles will soon be very familiar with the Streisand effect.

New Fish Species Discovered 4.5 Miles Under the Ocean 96

eldavojohn writes "The University of Aberdeen's Oceanlab (a partner in the recent census of marine life) has discovered a new snailfish. That might not sound very exciting, unless you consider that its habitat is an impressive four and a half miles below the ocean's surface (video). If my calculations are correct, that's over ten and a half thousand PSI, or about seventy-three million Pascals. The videos and pictures are a couple years old, as the team has traveled around Japan, South America and New Zealand to ascertain the biodiversity of these depths. The group hopes to eventually bring specimens to the surface. It seems the deepest parts of the ocean, once thought to be devoid of life, are actually home to some organisms. As researchers build better technology for underwater exploration, tales of yore containing unimaginable monsters seem a little more realistic than before."

Submission + - Key Nutrient Found to Prevent Cataracts in Salmon

An anonymous reader writes: The role of a key nutrient which prevents cataracts in salmon has been revealed by eye specialists at the University of East Anglia. Research published today in the American Journal of Physiology — Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology shows how the nutrient histidine, when added to the diet of farmed salmon, stops cataracts (clouding of the lens in the eye) from forming.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten